“To aid life … that is the basic task of the educator.”
Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
Montessori education is based on the premise that children have an innate ability to learn and that when supported by an appropriate environment and educator, they are guided through their developmental needs to reach their full potential.
A Montessori classroom typically has a trained Montessori teacher, known as a Director or Directress, supported by a Montessori assistant. Montessori teachers typically have a normal teacher qualification as well as an additional Montessori specific training. The teacher is a guide or facilitator whose task it is to support the young child in his or her process of self-development. They are foremost an observer, unobtrusively yet carefully monitoring each child's development, recognising and interpreting each child's needs.
The teacher provides a link between the child and the prepared environment, introducing the child to each piece of equipment when he or she is ready in a precise, clear and enticing way. The most important attribute of a Montessori teacher is the love and respect she holds for each child's total being.
The Montessori assistant’s role is to support the teacher and promote peace and order in the classroom. They value and respect the uniqueness of each child while consistently nurturing and modelling a love of learning. The assistant is a keen observer and is knowledgeable about developmentally appropriate behaviour and practices and supports the individual needs and interests of the children.